• Thursday 20 Oct 2016
  • Collaborating Across Sectors to Achieve Urban Health in Sustainable Cities

    Side Events
    Venue: R8
    Lead Organization:
    • NCD Alliance.
    Partner Organizations:
    • EAT Initiative,
    • Health Care Without Harm,
    • HealthBridge Foundation Of Canada,
    • International Society For Urban Health,
    • Low Carbon City Forum,
    • World Health Organization.

    Urban environments offer distinct opportunities to protect public health and enrich quality of life for all. Inclusion of sustainable cities, together with health and climate change in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development reflects the importance of these interlinked priorities for human development. While strong health systems are critical for treatment of disease, investment in actions which prevent disease in the first instance are particularly beneficial in economic and social terms. Non‐communicable diseases (NCDs), including cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, respiratory conditions and neurological disorders account for 68% of global mortality; a proportion that continues to grow, and which is projected to cost 47 trillion USD globally from 2011‐2030. Leading risk factors for NCDs are amplified by the effects of unsustainable urbanisation, including air pollution, physical inactivity, poor nutrition, and exposure to chemicals. Air pollution alone is responsible for 7 million deaths globally each year, and physical inactivity for a further 3.2 million. Disease risk factors are furthermore exacerbated by social inequalities, while climate change presents compounded threats to human health. While the effects of unsustainable urbanisation are observed primarily in the environment and health sectors, the opportunity to prevent these outcomes lies within sectors including urban planning, energy, transport, housing, waste management, education, and agriculture. Coordinated action across these sectors offers potential for immensely positive impacts on health, climate change, and other areas reflected in the Sustainable Development Goals. The health sector itself has a responsibility not only to engage with other sectors, but to ensure that carbon emissions and harmful waste from healthcare are minimised. Urban risk factors and social disparities can be addressed through strategic urban planning, with benefits across health, and ultimately for sustainable human and economic development. Implementation of the New Urban Agenda must be founded on a framework for shared action towards urban health.